Europe’s leading scientists have warned “alarming” climate change will lead to heatwaves becoming longer and heat stress threatening lives, following the continent’s warmest ever recorded summer.
Soaring temperatures across much of the world in recent weeks are a harbinger of extreme heatwaves to come this summer, with Thailand, New York, and Central Asia already feeling the effects in April.
Thailand broke its all-time record of 45C in recent days, with nearby Laos following suit almost hitting 43C. A health warning was issued to Thai citizens that reaching what felt like 50C was a possibility in Bangkok as humidity was factored in.
The western Maharashtra state in India saw 13 people die of heat stress, with more than 50 hospitalised as the mercury topped 42C.
Meanwhile, New York City broke a temperature record from the 1970s as Central Park reached 32C in the middle of what should be spring weather.
Bahrain in the Middle East and Sri Lanka are also seeing unusual weather patterns in recent days that are not typically seen in April, observers in those regions told the Irish Examiner.
Having confirmed the summer of 2022 was the warmest on record in Europe, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) warned the data showed the continent was seeing an upward trend in the number of summer days, with significant “heat stress” for humans and animals.
Heat stress is when the body cannot get rid of excess warmth, leading to confusion, rising heart rate, sickness, and even death in extreme cases.
Southern Europe is particularly vulnerable to “extreme heat stress” as the continent continues to warm, C3S said in its State of the Climate 2022 report.
Last year overall was the second warmest year on record in Europe at just under 1C above the 1990 to 2020 average. However, last summer was the hottest on record at 1.4C above the recent average, C3S said.
Director of the C3S, Carlo Buontempo, said: “The report highlights alarming changes to our climate, including the hottest summer ever recorded in Europe, marked by unprecedented marine heatwaves in the Mediterranean Sea and record-breaking temperatures in Greenland. Understanding the climate dynamics in Europe is crucial for our efforts to adapt and mitigate the negative impacts climate change has on the continent.”
The Arctic region is experiencing drastic changes in its climate, the report said. Temperatures over the Arctic have risen much more rapidly than those over most of the rest of the globe, it warned.
Source: Irish Examiner